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6 Must-Read Books To Change Your Life In 2017

6 Must-Read Books To Change Your Life In 2017

As we all are aware, reading is fundamental. It’s something we were forced to do as a kid and something that, with time, we’ve learned to enjoy. Or at the very least, see the benefits of continuously learning throughout life. Because of this, every year, I resolve to read more books, but I find myself overwhelmed by the choices as soon as I begin. Where do I start? That new exciting adventure novel that they’re turning into a movie this summer? The sci-fi fantasy that will allow me to escape reality into a scary dystopian future? A taste of non-fiction with that juicy new biography that just came out?

I’ve put together a list of six must-read books that will absolutely change your life in 2017, from improving your habits to finding love, from finding out what makes life worth living to learning to listen (and be heard).

Inspirational Books to Change your Life

1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

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Inspirational Books

    If you’re like me, you may have a pile (*ahem* a couple of piles) of random stuff lying around the house. Every time I try to clean up, that pile is there in the corner, defying my attempts to declutter. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing [1] may be the answer to all of our clutter problems. In this #1 New York Times best-selling guide, Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers by the hand and leads them step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.

    2. Inside-Out Health: A Revolutionary Approach to Your Body

    Inspirational Books

      If you’ve been looking for a way to lose weight, stay fit and healthy, rid your body of pains, and achieve total wellness, then Inside-Out Health: A Revolutionary Approach to Your Body[2] is a must-read for you. Dr. Robert G. Silverman’s book challenges conventional medicine, which treats symptoms instead of systems, and provides a rationale similar to Chinese medicine. His book shows the way of using functional medicine to focus on starting inside with the gut and working our way outside for lasting health.

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      3. The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships

      Inspirational Books

        Do you find yourself thinking about what you’re going to say so much that you are not actually listening to what someone else is saying? Do you ever feel like you’re failing to connect with others and your relationships are suffering as a result? The book The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships [3] teaches us that we take it for granted that one person talks and the other person listens, and unfortunately, most of us aren’t listening as well as we think we are. Become one of the 125,000 readers who have learned from experienced therapist Mike Nichols’ easy-to-learn techniques and practical exercises for becoming a better listener, as well as making yourself heard and understood even in the most difficult of situations.

        4. Are You the One for Me?: Knowing Who’s Right and Avoiding Who’s Wrong [4]

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        Inspirational Books

          Whether you’re married and wondering if you could be happier, single and wondering how to avoid another wrong partner, or in love and wondering whether your partner is right for you, the goal is the same: find (and keep) the best partner and make your love last. Best-selling author and renowned relationship expert Barbara De Angelis has the answer for you in this groundbreaking book on relationships. Learn how to create a fulfilling relationship by first understanding yourself and the one you love, and then transforming your life with the formula for creating love that lasts.

          5. When Breath Becomes Air

          Inspirational Books

            Get ready to be touched, inspired, and breathless. The #1 New York Times Bestselling memoir When Breath Becomes Air[5] tells the story of a young, idealistic neurosurgeon who found out he had lung cancer. In the face of insurmountable odds, he walks readers through how he chose to live the rest of his life, leaving us with the question, “What makes life worth living?” This breathtaking and touching book inspires all of us to live more meaningful lives.

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            6. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business[6]

            Inspirational Books

              Why do habits exist, and how can they be changed? What is the key to exercising regularly, losing weight, becoming more productive, and achieving success? Pulitzer Prize-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us on a thrilling journey to understanding human nature and its potential. By the end of this book, readers will understand how we can transform our businesses, communities, and our lives by harnessing the power of our habits.

              Featured photo credit: Makunin/Pixabay via pixabay.com

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              Lindsay Mattison

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              Last Updated on May 21, 2019

              How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

              How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

              For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

              If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

              Example 1

              You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

              You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

              In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

              Example 2

              You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

              People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

              You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

              Example 3

              You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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              The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

              Example 4

              You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

              Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

              If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

              Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

              • Understand your own communication style
              • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
              • Communicate with precision and care
              • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

              1. Understand Your Communication Style

              To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

              In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

              Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

              2. Learn Others Communication Styles

              Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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              If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

              “How do you prefer to receive information?”

              This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

              To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

              3. Exercise Precision and Care

              A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

              On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

              Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

              I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

              I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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              In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

              The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

              Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

              4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

              Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

              In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

              “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

              Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

              Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

              It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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              It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

              It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

              Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

              Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

              The Bottom Line

              When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

              I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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              Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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